How to make money at craft shows and fairs

Part 1 of 2: This is part 1 of a Special Email Bulletin for anyone who has ever thought of making extra income by selling your own spa products at craft shows or fairs…

I imagine you’ve probably been to craft shows and or craft fairs. And you’ve seen how popular they are. Thousands of people attend some of these shows, and the best thing is…. they’re already interested in what you offer…

That makes selling at craft shows and fairs one of the best ways to get started with your own spa products business.

Here are some practical tips for getting started with craft show marketing. None of these are “rocket surgery” (as my 14-year old Jerry is fond of saying!) — but it’s surprising how many budding craft entrepreneurs miss these key points:

1. It all starts with the selecting the **right** show

Your success is heavily influenced by the show(s) at which you exhibit. A show that closely matches your product lineup is likely to perform much better than one where there is a mismatch.

There are a few ways to find the right shows. Personal networking and recommendations is one. Google searching is another (try searching on “Craft Show + <Your Location>” or “Craft Fair + <Your Location”).

Or there are a range of craft show directories. The best I know of for North American fairs is FestivalNet.

Just select your region to view upcoming craft shows in your area. There’s a basic but useful free version, and a more comprehensive subscription version for a nominal yearly membership.

A tool like this allows you to QUICKLY discover when and where the best shows are, so you can only exhibit at shows where you have the best chance of success. Simple but effective!

2. Get a feel for the show before you exhibit

Make sure BEFORE you set up a stall, that you know as much as possible about the show. What kind of people attend. Who else is exhibiting. And what other competition you might face.

There are a few ways to do this. One is to do online research… Another is to speak to the organizer. And another is to visit a fair as an attendee first and do a little “market research”.

My father used to say, “time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted”, and when it comes to exhibiting at craft fairs, he was right!

Knowing what you’re getting into allows you to prepare in advance and give yourself the best chance of success.

3. Make sure you’re different and desirable

The worst thing you can do is show up to a craft fair with exactly the same product as other exhibitors. Ideally, you want to be different and uniquely desirable to your target market. What does this mean?

  • Unique naming and packaging
  • Unique scents
  • Unique shapes / colours
  • Unique product bundles
  • Unique selling processes (sampling, list building etc.)

The more different you are, the less price competition matters! The more you know about the fair and your local competition, the more you can plan to be different. (In The Handcrafter’s Companion, I give you a range of ideas for creating truly unique products that stand out in a crowd.)

OK, this email is starting to get long, so I’ll write again in a few days with Part 2….